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"Dancing with the Stars"

 "Dancing with the Stars"

Credit: ABC

Recap: 'Dancing with the Stars' boots a pair of Broadway babies

Corbin Bleu and Kristin Chenoweth perform

So, who will be going home tonight? The Ewok (Chaz Bono), the bore (Rob Kardashian), the ice queen (Nancy Grace) or someone we'd never expect? I'd hate to guess, as this season has been nothing if not unpredictable. But I am expecting to hear some more fighting words from Maks (or at least not an apology). Maks is not one to back down from a fight. I just hope he doesn't smack Len, because the poor guy might crumble into dust. 

Speaking of Len, he tells us last night was a mix of frights, fights and delights. Cute. He wants to see J.R. and Karina perform their quick step again. I always wonder if this dance is reward or punishment. Sure, it's praise from the judges (they thought it was so nice they want to see it twice!), but I have to think these guys are exhausted and, if they're doing any dancing on a Tuesday, they'd prefer to be working on their next routine. Plus, this performance comes to us after voting has closed, so there's no advantage from that perspective. Still, J.R. and Karina are spot on and charming once again, so from that perspective, it's just plain nice to see. 

Our first couple on the block is J.R. and Karina. I have to say, I'm rooting for J.R. to take the mirror ball. If it's between him and whiney, hypercompetitive Ricki, he's simply more personable, an equally strong dancer, and that war hero thing doesn't hurt, either.  
 
J.R. and Karina… are safe. Good!
 
The other stars huddle with Brooke. Nancy tells Brooke she doesn't feel like a contender. She's just happy to be there. And she had to go straight home last night, because Lucy threw up. That's lovely. 
 
Next, we have a performance from Kristin Chenoweth. Perfectly nice little country song. 
 
Ricki and Derek join Nancy and Tristan on the block. We'll learn their fate... after the break.
 
Ricki and Derek are, of course, safe. Nancy and Tristan are... also safe. Huh. Go figure. I really thought Nancy would have gone home by now -- or at least she'd go home before Chynna. But again, it's an unpredictable season.
 
Oh, goody. A clip segment of the stars talking about the challenges of being on the show set to dramatic music. They all have to step it up. David Arquette is okay with getting shot with cortizone. Nancy just wants to say she did it. Blah, blah, blah. I'm sure all of this is perfectly sincere, but maybe a bunch of stressed out stars isn't what people need to see when unemployment is sky high and "food insecurity" has reached record numbers. Just a thought.
 
Corbin Bleu and our Macy's Stars of Dance do a tribute to Broadway choreographed by Kenny Ortega. Wow, Bleu looks COMPLETELY different without the big hair. On the one hand, he looks more mature. On the other, he looks pretty anonymous. As you might expect, he does a fine job of singing and dancing to Ortega's choreography, which is also as strong as you'd expect. We get the usual suspects, though -- "West Side Story," for example -- except for the segment from "In the Heights," which is a nice surprise. Judging from "DWTS," you'd think Broadway effectively stopped producing anything new around 1980. 
 
Martina McBride performs "I'm Gonna Love You Through It." It's a happy, upbeat cancer song. Just kidding. It's a sad, moving cancer song. They don't shy away from this stuff in country music.
 
Next we have David and Kym facing off against Chaz and Lacey. Oh, my. Chaz does not want to be called an Ewok again. He feels like Bruno is calling him a fat troll every week. Well, he's not wrong to feel insulted, although I have to say -- being called a cute little penguin is not quite as insulting as being called a fat troll. But I guess it doesn't feel very manly, either.
 
The next couple coming back next week is... David and Kym. Chaz and Lacey are in danger. How could they not be? Sorry, but Chaz is really struggling on the dance floor. As much as I hope he gets into shape, I think he needed to be in better shape just to do the show. 
 
Mark, Lacey and some fantastic dancing kids give us a preview of what we can expect from the Halloween episode. Apparently small children will try to strangle the judges. I'll tune in for that!
 
Next, we get to Maks and Hope vs. Rob and Cheryl. And we get to relive Maks' comments. Maks does apologize to Brooke for one thing -- saying "DWTS" is "his" show. All the dancers and stars are important! But no, he isn't taking back anything else he said, even if Carrie Ann looked like she wanted to throttle him for suggesting that Len retire. 
 
The next couple back is Rob and Cheryl. Hope and Maks are... in danger. Why oh why oh WHY is Rob still on this show? It's like watching a ream of paper or a baked potato shuffle around the floor. 
 
Hope and Maks and Chaz and Lacey are our bottom two. Who's going home? I couldn't call it, really. But I suspect Chaz. 
 
The couple leaving right now is... Chaz and Lacey. Well, we won't have this Ewok to push around anymore. He's proud of his journey. He has no regrets. He wanted to show America a different kind of man, because if he'd seen someone like himself while he was growing up, it would have changed his whole life. I just hope his next challenge is something like "Celebrity Fit Club" or maybe a stocky man workout video or just something. It would suck to have gone through all the trouble of becoming a man to drop dead of a very manly heart attack.
 
Did you think it was Chaz's time to go? Are you surprised Rob and Nancy are still in it? Were you surprised by Maks' comments last night?
 
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<p>Jeff Goldblum may be the most valuable player in the human cast, but there's no doubt that the T-rex is the star of 'Jurassic Park,' even all these years later.</p>

Jeff Goldblum may be the most valuable player in the human cast, but there's no doubt that the T-rex is the star of 'Jurassic Park,' even all these years later.

Credit: Universal Pictures

Film Nerd 2.0: We scare the crap out of the kids with 'Jurassic Park' on Blu-ray

How does one of Spielberg's biggest hits stack up for 21st century kids?

As films show up at the house, the boys like to open all the packages, something I've had to decide against thanks to some of the more extreme movies that have been sent to me over the years.  I'll glance inside before deciding if they can open something.

There are times when the boys are excited not because they know anything about a movie, but simply because they recognize that they heard someone talking about  the title.  It's sweet, and I'm sure they take their cues from me.  No matter how hard I try to make sure that what they watch is about laying out choices and letting them make those choices, they get excited if I'm excited at all.  They're just trying to learn about the world that way.  "Hey, mom likes this so I'm going to like this!"  "Dad said this movie's title ten times, and so we want to see it!"  

Marketing is pervasive, and as Toshi's been learning to read, one of the big joys for him is reading the titles of movie posters as we drive around.  Living in LA, there is a constant barrage of roadside imagery selling movies.  And they ask about EVERYTHING we go by.  There are times when they become excited about something for bizarre reasons, and one of my recent favorites was when they became fixated on the release date of "Crazy Stupid Love."

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<p>Clay (Ron Perlman)&nbsp;and Piney (William Lucking)&nbsp;in &quot;Sons of Anarchy.&quot;</p>

Clay (Ron Perlman) and Piney (William Lucking) in "Sons of Anarchy."

Credit: FX

'Sons of Anarchy' - 'Family Recipe': Head hot chili, coppers

The hits on SAMCRO keep coming

A review of tonight's "Sons of Anarchy" coming up just as soon as I blame disgruntled Armenian mechanics...

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"The Rachel Zoe Project"

 "The Rachel Zoe Project"

Credit: Bravo

Rachel Zoe shows actual human emotion on finale of 'The Rachel Zoe Project'

Motherhood is the key to melting the icy fashionista's heart

Sound the alarms! I'm not sure which of the seven signs of the apocalypse this is, but it certainly must be one of them; in the season finale of "The Rachel Zoe Project," Zoe actually bursts into tears -- and not because the latest Chanel collection was totally maj. No, she weeps because she loves her little family of worker bees so darn much. And her kid. Possibly her husband, but we'll get to that in a moment. All we really needed to finish off this sugary sweet episode was the residents of Whoville joining hands and singing around a Christmas tree. But unlike a tale from Dr. Seuss, this was both heartwarming and a little weird. If Rachel Zoe can be melted into a big puddle of goo by post-partum hormones, is no heartless fashionista safe?

Of course, our dogged little stylist/designer isn't wearing mom jeans and scheduling play dates just yet. Zoe and her husband happily float in a bubble of domestic bliss at the beginning of the episode, and there's no doubting that the woman who spent previous episodes acting about as enthusiastic about giving birth as she would be about having a tumor removed has been transformed. She loves her little boy, although I'm not sure she fully understands that the quiet, sleepy little newborn she has is not going to stay quiet or sleepy for long. "I think I have it all figured out," she announces to the camera. "I'm just going to take Skyler with me everywhere." Knowing that Zoe has a very, very deadpan sense of humor, she could be joking. Somehow, I doubt it. I can only imagine this first blush of baby love fading the minute her precious little bundle has a poopy diaper blow-out that spatters baby feces all over a vintage Halston, but we'll just have to wait. 

Still, you have to admire her sudden devotion to motherhood. She takes her baby to the first photo shoot for her collection, which is ultimately run by her second-in-command, Mandana. While Zoe weighs in with comments here and there, her mind is clearly on her baby boo's latest burp. So it's probably a good thing when Mandana sees an opportunity to bring the recently fired Jeremiah back into the fold to design a Rachel Zoe store-in-store experience for Bloomingdales. With Zoe operating at half speed, this team needs all the help it can get. 

Of course, you can take the girl out of the office but you can't completely take the office out of the girl. When it's time to tell little Skyler a bedtime story, Zoe trills about a little prince who "loves to wear beautiful clothes all the time. He loves Ralph Lauren, he loves Missoni, he loves Stella McCartney..." You get the idea. Later, she gushes that her new little guy is "like my live doll" and clearly relishes the opportunity to dress him in head to toe labels until he's old enough to stand up to her. Rodger clearly hopes this is sooner rather than later, and I can't blame him. I'm with Rodger -- his wife seems determined to dress up the kid like a tiny, very wealthy transsexual. Not that there's anything wrong with that. 

But this episode isn't so much about Zoe's transformation, which would probably become gag-induxing in larger doses. It's mostly about how Jeremiah doggedly keeps working for Zoe despite having been canned, whether they need a nursery (last episode) or that store-in-store at Bloomie's. You have to admire his willingness to tuck his tail between his legs, put on a happy face, and do whatever needs to be done, even if that includes figuring out where to put the diaper wipe warmer. When Rodger finally accepts that Jeremiah might actually be useful after Bloomingdale's signs on for eight store-in-stores when Zoe was hoping for two, it's a testament to hard work paying off, and how often does that happen on reality TV?

Speaking of Rodger, his part on the finale seems to have been downgraded from "voice of reason" (his role for most of the season) to "petulant man child." He poutily demands that Zoe make him a sandwich, complaining that she no longer cares what he eats. When she amazingly concedes instead of throwing a toaster at him, he then complains when she yelps at having burned herself. Apparently he thinks buying an enormous diamond for his wife as her reward for carting a baby around for nine months, then pushing it through a smallish opening, gives him carte blanche to be a whiner. For the record, it really doesn't -- especially if he bought that diamond using her money in the first place. Plus, I find it hard to believe that anyone in this family needs to cook an anything, by the way. Don't they have minions for that? 

But all's well that ends well, and this season ends very well as Zoe gushes that the past year has been the best of her life, though the kid is just part of it. She also dressed her biggest Oscars ever! Yes, Rachel Zoe is still Rachel Zoe. As she coos over her baby, whispering, "He's so maj," I have to wonder if this big, goopy lovefest will continue next season -- or if Skyler will fade into the background like Rachel's kid on "Friends." 

 

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<p>Astro of &quot;The X Factor&quot;</p>
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Astro of "The X Factor"

Credit: FOX

Recap: 'The X Factor' - Top 17 Performances Live-Blog

How did the Top 17 do on the Big Stage and which five singers went home?

Normally for performance episodes of "American Idol," I don't use the live-blog format and the recaps don't go up until after the telecast, but Tuesday (October 25) night's episode of "The X Factor" is attempting to do something that "American Idol" has never tried: We're going to get a whopping 17 performances and the judges are going to send five contestants home and it's all going to be stretched out over a soul-crushing 150+ minutes. 

So I'm gonna live-blog, because just in case this mammoth episode kills me, I want the investigators to know exactly how far I made it before passing out. 

Let the insanity begin...

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<p>John Hawkes sings &quot;Marcy's Song&quot; in &quot;Martha Marcy May Marlene.&quot;&nbsp;</p>

John Hawkes sings "Marcy's Song" in "Martha Marcy May Marlene." 

Credit: Fox Searchlight Pictures

John Hawkes sings 'Marcy's Song' from 'Martha Marcy May Marlene'

A cover version, but still one of the year's best movie songs

Watching "Martha Marcy May Marlene" at Cannes back in May, I was stopped dead by a musical number for John Hawkes midway through the film: the eerie, melancholy acoustic track "Marcy's Song," in which his cult-leader character and Elizabeth Olsen's fresh-faced inductee appear to forge a wary spiritual connection. It's a song that, lovely in any context, distils the film's mood so effectively that I remember thinking, "If this is an original track, the Best Original Song race is over."

Of course, if I were more au fait with the American folk scene, I'd have known that the song was in fact originally written and performed by the late Jackson C. Frank; as the film's director, Sean Durkin, explained to me in an interview last week, he stumbled upon the song while searching for suitable tracks featuring the titular names. Good spot: original or otherwise, it makes for one of the year's most arresting musical moments, all the more effective for the fact that Oscar-nominated actor (and sometime musician) Hawkes performed it himself.

Anyway, Fox Searchlight has released a new video of this beautiful version. I recommend checking it out after the jump. 

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Watch: Monica brings death and tears into 'Until It's Gone'

Watch: Monica brings death and tears into 'Until It's Gone'

There goes your Tuesday

Geez, Monica, you had to go there.

It seems that the veteran R&B singer went all the way with her "just you wait until I leave you" theme in "Until It's Gone," the Diane Martel-helmed music video to her latest song from forthcoming "New Life." It's as though she hooked up with the same melodrama machine that pumped out Lil Wayne's soap-operatic "How to Love," complete with cheating men and hospital scenes of mourning.

There's at least this grand PSA: don't forget to buckle your seatbelt.

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<p>Little Big Town</p>

Little Big Town

Credit: AP Photo

Watch: Little Big Town covers 'Moves Like Jagger' to a T

Covers series engages with Maroon 5's mega-hit

I'll admit: I'm sick to death of Maroon 5's "Moves Like Jagger" featuring Christina Aguilera. This No. 1 was completely unavoidable all summer, and I don't like a shirtless Adam Levine smirking at me. I heard a two-year-old on the subway singing it the other day and I felt a faint urge to kidnap the little guy.

But Little Big Town is making me circle back, or at least has me putting their version on repeat. As part of the Nashville-based country band's "Scattered, Smothered and Covered" series, the group collaborated with their road band for a banjo-happy version. It's... adorable. And it's recorded backstage at a concert in Iowa.

The SSC series is a very smart move on the part of Little Big Town. By covering acts like Adele and the Jackson 5, they're grabbing the attention of folks who might not be aware of the quartet to begin with.

Look for more SSC on the Little Big Town YouTube channel.

LBT last released "The Reason Why" last year.

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<p>A&nbsp;scene from &quot;Eyes without a Face&quot;</p>

A scene from "Eyes without a Face"

Credit: Lopert Pictures Corporation

Almodóvar's film selections for AFI Fest revealed

Curated screenings include works from Jean-Pierre Melville and Georges Franju

A few weeks back it was announced that "The Skin I Live In" director Pedro Almodóvar had been tapped by AFI Fest to serve as Guest Artistic Director. It's been an eclectic couple of years for the position, as David Lynch served in the position's inaugural year.

The festival just sent out a release announcing Almodóvar's selected classic horror films and thrillers to be screened in a sidebar program. They include Jean-Pierre Melville's "Le Cercle Rouge," Georges Franju's "Eyes without a Face," Edmund Goulding's "Nightmare Alley" and Robert Siodmak's "The Killers."

The quartet joins Almodovar's own "Law of Desire," which was previously announced as a Gala screening and "An Evening with Pedro Almodovar" set for November 7.

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<p>Mazzy Star</p>

Mazzy Star

Listen: Mazzy Star to 'Lay Down' new album in lieu of fresh single

Hope Sandoval and David Roback release new music for the first time in a decade

Last year at the U.S. edition of All Tomorrow's Parties, Hope Sandoval sent me straight off to Dreamland, in many good ways. The light-dappled eddies of her butter-smooth voice shot me straight back to 1994, to Mazzy Star's "Fade Into You," just a couple years before the Cowboy Junkies charmed the world with the same sound on their cover of the Velvets' "Sweet Jane." It was a cool period where ladies sounded like women, somewhat of a predecessor to artists like Neko Case, Beach House and Liz Phair, at least to these ears.

Mazzy Star -- the winning combination of Sandoval and David Roback -- hasn't released a new album since 1996. They split that year and then around the turn of the century, they went on a brief reunion tour, during which they played unreleased and new songs. Since then, both have sworn that they'd eventually put something out, including that time in 2009 Sandoval swore a new album was coming, even if the release date was a little bit hazy.

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"Top Chef"

 "Top Chef"

Credit: Bravo

'Top Chef''s Tom Colicchio and Padma Lakshmi talk Texas

The new season will be bigger than ever - and one eliminated chef could return
"Top Chef" returns (Wed. Nov. 2 at 10 p.m.), and this season promises to be bigger than ever -- literally. Boasting a record 29 chefs (though all but 16 will be eliminated in the first episode), the show will travel across the entire state of Texas, touching down in Austin, Dallas and San Antonio for challenges. To further spice things up, this supersized "Top Chef" will be tossing in a new webisode feature, which will allow eliminated chefs to seek redemption. In a phone conference call, host Padma Lakshmi and head judge Tom Colicchio discussed the changes to the show and revealed the answer to a truly mystifying secret -- how they stay in (reasonably good) shape.
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<p>Trent Reznor</p>

Trent Reznor

Credit: AP Photo

Listen: Nine Inch Nails, The Killers, Depeche Mode, more cover U2 for 'Achtung'

How does Trent Reznor sound on his band's take of 'Zoo Station' for 'AHK-toong?'

The U2 covers keep marching in, "Baby." Nine Inch Nails, The Killers, the Fray, Snow Patrol, Depeche Mode and more have now revealed their takes on songs from U2's "Achtung Baby," compiled into Q Magazine's covers tribute "AHK-toong BAY-bi."

Trent Reznor and his midnight merry men get a little squirrely with the end of "Zoo Station" as Brandon Flowers' dramatic voice flares all over the Killers' cover of "Ultraviolet (Light My Way)." Depeche Mode's "So Cruel" is predictably dark.

"AHK-toong BAY-bi" came out today, packaged with Q Magazine latest. The publication also honored U2 for some damn thing last night at its annual awards show.

"Achtung Baby" gets its own schmancy reissue on Oct. 31. I've already fawned.

Last week, we posted U2 covers from Jack White, Damien Rice and Garbage; below, ah hell, I've just posted as much of the covers set as I can. What's your favorite?

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